From ants to antiques


Insect infestations

A concerned reader writes: “We live in a traditional Japanese house, and have noticed with some alarm that the step into our “genkan” (hallway) is being eaten away. The wood is crumbling into dust from the inside and spreading. Any idea what might be the problem?”

Most likely this is the work of termites or ants.

Termites, often wrongly called white ants, are highly modified — and destructive — social, cellulose-eating cockroaches. The seven most common ant species are the carpenter ant, the pavement ant, the thief ant, the crazy ant, the field ant, the Pharaoh ant and the Argentine ant. (Yes, really!)

Obviously you need to identify the culprit before deciding on a course of treatment, which means digging around in the debris.

There is a lot of information on the Web to guide you in this. For DIY treatment, try the site Termites and Other Wood Eating Pests at www.thepestdepot.com/teotwoeape.html.

If you have a friendly carpenter or wood-working friends, get their advice on the problem. If the infestation is still local, it may simply be a matter of replacing the affected piece of wood.

Antiquarius Tokyo

“I’ve heard there is a new magazine about antiques and the arts in Japan in English,” writes Susan. “Do you know where I might get hold of a copy? I live in Azabu-juban.”

I think you may be talking about the quarterly Antiquarius Tokyo, the first edition of which appeared this summer. It’s a quarterly, so the autumn 2007 issue should be out by now.

It is very much advertorial-based, meaning that Antiquarius promotes shops, stores and galleries in editorial fashion. The first issue, for example, featured an article about “tansu,” their history, merits and the one and only foreign specialist: John Adair of Kurofune (The Black Ship) in Roppongi.

The small-format publication also lists shops and galleries, specialist auctions, and regular fairs in the metropolis. Published by Montealto International, and edited by Astrid de lost Rios, who has been on the Tokyo art scene for at least 20 years, this glossy introduction to the world of art, antiques and fine living is distributed free though leading hotels, galleries, members’ clubs, embassies and by direct mail. Call (03) 3705-6043 or write to Montealto International, Fukasawa 3-28-11, Setagaya Ward, Tokyo 158-0081, for details.

Just click to help

Jack Mac and T.R. from the U.K. have a favor to ask. The online Breast Cancer Site is having trouble getting enough people to click on their site daily to meet their quota of donating at least one free mammogram to an under-privileged woman a day.

“It takes less the a minute to go to the site and click on ‘Donating a Mammogram’ (pink window in the center), an act that costs you nothing at all. The site’s sponsors/advertisers use the number of daily visits to donate mammograms in exchange for advertising,” writes Jack. Here’s the web address: www.thebreastcancersite.com.

Pass it along to people you know to help this worthy cause.

Send you questions, queries, problems and posers to lifelines@japantimes.co.jp